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Ice jam causes flooding in Malone - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Ice jam causes flooding in Malone

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MALONE, N.Y. -

Martin Lamica has lived on Lower Park Street in Malone for five decades.

"It's never been this bad," he said.

He and his neighbors are used to seeing the Salmon River flood each winter, but residents and emergency officials say this is the worst it has even been. Rarely has the water made it inside homes across the street.

"Stressful, very stressful and seeing your neighbors go through it to is not good," said Jerry Lamica.

A number of homes have been evacuated, and a total of sixteen have been impacted by the flooding. An ice jam is causing the problem. At one point it was over 4,000 feet long, but now is down to about 2,500 feet.

"Last week's cold temperatures put a lot of frazzle ice down the river and simply plugged the river up, and the river is taking the path of least resistance and it's taking the path Lower Park Street," said Franklin County Emergency Services Director Rick Provost.

Emergency officials don't expect the situation on Lower Park Street to change until midweek when the temperature is expected to rise above freezing and rain is in the forecast."))

"That's naturally going to put a lot of water in the river, hopefully it will cave in at that pointy in time put the river back in the river and out of Lower Park Street, but we are preparing to do more evacuations or it could go away," said Provost.

Another contributing factor to the ice jam is silt buildup. The river used to be up to twenty feet deep, but sediment from upstream makes the river only a couple feet deep now. The Army Corps of Engineers had recommended dredging the river, but that would cost several million dollars. This year's record flooding is expected to create a stronger push for state and federal funding for the project.

"Then risking being flooded like this year in and out it's not every year, but its happened way too many times," said state senator Betty Little.

"I think it is everybody's hope right now," commented Jerry Lamica.

For now, all Martin Lamica can do is watch as the flood waters continue to fill up the home he shares with his mother. The water is several feet deep on the first floor.

"My mother is devastated, she built the house in 1951 with her own two hands, now she's scared to lose it," he said.

Residents left wondering when the water will recede so they can return home.

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